Rules. Just this once.

Advice from the Important People and Top Ten lists are not things that usually excite me. However, I recently stumbled across this excellent list from author Zadie Smith that shares rules/advice for writers. I found them to be shrewd and insightful and prophetic and good. I also immediately thought of half a dozen talented folks in other artistic disciplines who have learned and shared similar lessons…

I automatically translate these into music/composition terms as I read them. I hope you’ll receive them as helpful tidbits that speak to whatever your craft is…

1 When still a child, make sure you read a lot of books. Spend more time doing this than anything else.

2 When an adult, try to read your own work as a stranger would read it, or even better, as an enemy would.

3 Don’t romanticise your “vocation”. You can either write good sentences or you can’t. There is no “writer’s lifestyle”. All that matters is what you leave on the page.

4 Avoid your weaknesses. But do this without telling yourself that the things you can’t do aren’t worth doing. Don’t mask self-doubt with contempt.

5 Leave a decent space of time between writing something and editing it.

6 Avoid cliques, gangs, groups. The presence of a crowd won’t make your writing any better than it is.

7 Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.

8 Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.

9 Don’t confuse honours with achievement.

10 Tell the truth through whichever veil comes to hand – but tell it. Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied.

(All credit and thanks to the guardian.co.uk and Zadie Smith.)

by Jack (Inspiration) | tagged | Comments Off on Rules. Just this once.

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